This is the fourth post in a new series that explores some of my research and adventures while writing A Feast of Weeds, a post-apocalyptic adventure trilogy.
On the second day of the trip we had breakfast at this small diner with great local food–Raul’s Striper Cafe. We got an early start on the road, crossing the beautiful Rio Vista bridge back into Sacramento County. I took less pictures this day since I was tired and sore and wanted to keep moving. Still, the countryside was gorgeous and we discovered a number of delta town gems, including a Japanese Bath House and the town of Locke. We didn’t have time to explore like we wanted, so while biking home on this trip we began planning a second one. The stories and pictures from that second trip will post over the next few months.
While I didn’t write while on the bike, I worked hard on A Feast of Weedsin other ways. I also learned how deeply connected Sacramento is to delta culture. Of course, I had known this before the trip, but actually exploring the roads and levees and sloughs and ferries that connect Sacramento to the ocean deepened my sense of place in a way I still can’t quite describe. But I know the experience will inform my stories for years to come.
This is the third post in a new series that explores some of my research and adventures while writing A Feast of Weeds, a post-apocalyptic adventure trilogy.
I stopped us a lot on that first day to take pictures. Even though it was only 50 or so miles to Rio Vista, we didn’t arrive there until the late afternoon. Rio Vista is a beautiful delta town with a long history and a growing arts community.
We ate dinner at Foster’s Bighorn, which is right on the main strip of town. Animal trophies from the former owner’s hunting safaris mount the walls. Most of these animals were hunted during the 1920s and 1930s. Rare elephant ivory, rhinoceros horn, and other unique species are on display. These animals were killed before laws had banned hunting them. In many cases, Bill Foster taxidermied the trophies himself. It’s a strange place. The food was good, but I felt odd eating while under the gaze of dozens of taxidermied eyes and fur more than fifty years old–especially when I noticed a a mounted trophy of the rare rhinoceros that takes center stage in my Young Adult coming-of-age adventure, Rhinoceros Summer.
After dinner, we wandered the local high school, watched the sunset, and explored fantastical 90s relics like: a video rental store, a working pay phone, and a decrepit radio station on a hill. Don’t be surprised if some version of a few of these relics show up in A Feast of Weeds or a future story. Pictures below.
This is the second post in a new series that explores some of my research and adventures while writing A Feast of Weeds, a post-apocalyptic adventure trilogy.
On the first day of this delta tour, we biked over 50 miles. Beautiful weather, deserted roads, a friendly encounter with a local folk band. Part research, part adventure. I spent the day imagining what it might feel like to find the whole world big and empty.
The slough roads were narrow, barely wider than one car, but so empty, it often felt more like a dedicated bike trail than a road for cars. Some of the sloughs sported a layer of neon green, red, or yellow algae, depending I think on the type of chemical runoff from the vineyards (a slough is a type of creek, usually slow-moving, swampy, marshy).
On the turn off for Grand Island Mansion we passed another group of bicyclists on their way to Berkeley, CA with their instruments strapped on their backs and on bike trailers. The Cracker Family Circus had also started their trek in Sacramento and were headed to Berkeley to play a show. They’re all about lowering their carbon footprint while playing punk blues. We compared maps and miles traveled, like any good cyclist would do, and then headed onwards.
The biggest surprise for me were the two ferry crossings. They run almost continuously across two sloughs–there to help the random passer-by cross the delta’s vast network of roads, islands, and swamps. No fee, no hassle, we just waited for the next ferry and hopped on.
While being in the saddle for that many miles didn’t feel so great, the day’s worth of sights and friendly people made up for it. It was a nice, easy ride with great views, beautiful skies, flat roads, and a countryside almost empty of people.
Of course, that’s not quite how Corrina, Gabbi, and Maibe find things in A Feast of Weeds. In fact, these heroines would each argue that the world is still too full of people after everything falls apart–capture and torture and terrible experiments will do that to a girl.
To celebrate the official start of fall here in Northern California regardless of how hot today gets, I decided to post more of the fog pictures I’ve taken that helped inspire A Feast of Weeds: Book #1.
I’ve posted before about the importance of setting and weather in my stories. In future posts I’ll share inspiration for the settings of the other two books in A Feast of Weeds. In the meantime, feel free to pin or save these pics for your own personal use.
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